Dear Voters of Legislative District 1,
I am running to represent you and bring your voices to the Monroe County Legislature. My campaign is about sharing a vision of what good government should look like and how representatives can connect with all their constituents, make sure everyone is heard and find equitable solutions to meet the needs of all. As your representative I will advocate for transparency in government, fiscal responsibility and creative problem solving. I hope to earn your vote on the Democratic line on November 12.
I would like to take a moment to introduce myself. I have been a member of the Parma Democratic Committee for two years, first serving as treasurer and now as chair. Over the past couple of years, we have gone from starting out with no active committee in 2016 to having a visible presence in the community during the 2018 election season and being able to connect with the majority of registered Democrats in Parma through phone banking, literature drops and in person events.
My husband and I have lived in the Village of Hilton for the past six years where we are raising our two daughters. We both grew up in Greece and graduated from Odyssey Academy. We were part of the first class of students to start at Odyssey as sixth graders, graduating after completing the full seven years at Odyssey. I benefited immensely from the opportunity to be one of the first students trying a new way of schooling. By being part of Odyssey, we benefited from what educators across the nation had learned from trying new techniques and the data they collected and in turn contributed to the continuous improvement to our education system by trying new experiences.
In middle school and high school I fell in love with science, especially biology. I went on to earn my B.S. in biological sciences from the University of Buffalo (UB), graduating with honors. My intention was to pursue a career in research. I engaged in research in a genetics lab at UB and through a summer research program at the University of Rochester Medical Center. After graduating I took a position at the Life Sciences Learning Center (LSLC) as a lab technician. The LSLC is an education outreach laboratory. I attended their microbiology summer program as a high school student, an impactful experience that grew my love of science. I planned to serve as their technician for a year or two, an opportunity to give back, as they expanded their programs and lab space, before pursuing graduate studies in biology. While working at the LSLC I had the opportunity to assist with curriculum development and work with students from all over the greater Rochester area. I discovered I had a knack for explaining complex science issues in a way that students could understand and a passion for teaching. Instead of moving on to a graduate program in biology I matriculated at SUNY Brockport, earning a M.S.Ed. in Adolescent Science Education. During that time my first daughter was born. After completing my graduate degree I chose to take some time to be a full-time mom. I say “full-time” rather than “stay-at-home” because I find I am restless and always need to be active in my community in some way. When my daughter was young, we moved to Hilton. I served as president of the Hilton Chapter of MOMS Club. When my daughter started school, I volunteered in her class and served as the Girl Scout leader for her troop. I was one of the founding directors of the Rochester March for Science before becoming chair of the Parma Democratic Committee and devoting more time to our committee’s work. Working for the Parma Democratic Committee has allowed me to advocate for a wide variety of issues. I found there to be such a wide variety of issues that I care about, it was difficult to focus on one cause. Political action has allowed me to find ways to advocate for a whole slate of issues.
Why would you want to elect a scientist and teacher to the county legislature? When I think about the problems I see in our country today, I think a lot of them boil down to being locked in binary thinking, seeing everything as a choice between the Democratic solution or the Republican solution. This type of thinking always leaves someone out, unheard and struggling. It is a system where there always seems to need to be a “winner” and a “loser.” This has led to a mistrust in the government. A lot of times I hear people talk about the idea that government should be run like a successful business, but I think we could benefit from running things more like scientists than business people. A successful business looks to serve profitable customers and the goals tend to be short term. A business can quickly grow and make its investors huge profits over a period of five or ten years and then be sold off or even closed, and it would be considered a huge success. Government needs to serve everyone, and it needs to take a long-term outlook. It is not good enough to generate prosperity in the short-term if it leaves the community suffering in the future. Science is a way of learning and discovering new knowledge and solutions. It is competitive and thrives on robust debate but at the same time it is inherently collaborative. Before pursuing a new experiment, we look to the research that has already been done and look for how to build upon that foundation of collective knowledge. We look not to reinvent the wheel but to build upon and contribute to that collaborative growth of knowledge. Science is always looking for what is missing, what questions have not been asked and what variables have not been considered. Science is also by nature built on transparency. If you cannot explain how you came to a conclusion, where your data came from and why you chose to do your experiments in a particular way, it is not good science. When new data becomes available that challenges past conclusions, science demands that we be open-minded and adjust our views to continue growing our knowledge. This is what good government should be doing. When formulating policy, we should always be asking many questions. What are we missing? Whose needs and viewpoints have we not heard? Has another community dealt with this same issue successfully? Is there a better way to do this? Every representative should be able to explain why they support a specific policy, what information they used to form their opinion and why. We should demand that from ourselves and from our colleagues on both sides of the aisle. If information becomes available that there is a better way to do something, we should consider it and improve our own policies and processes.
From the viewpoint of an educator I think about looking around a classroom of students who have a variety of different needs. It’s not good enough to run your classroom in a way that makes the majority of students successful if you leave behind a handful of students. There cannot be “winners” and “losers.” Instead, teachers find creative ways to meet the needs of their entire class, often with limited resources. We do this first because we care about the humanity of each student and value each individual, and second because it is the expectation.
These are the kinds of values and high expectations I want to bring to serving as your representative. I look forward to working with you and earning your support.
Amanda S. Genaux-Hauser